Posture Challenge ~Jodi Higgs~

My focus for January is getting my hamstring back in top form and strengthen my body so this doesn’t happen again. I’ll slowly get back into running and will be focusing on yoga and stretching with some more intense workouts in 2015 (guess that’s a new year’s resolution).

So for January, I’m going to give this Posture Challenge by Jodi Higgs a go!

Posture Challenge 

30 Day Posture Challenge Jodi Higgs

Anyone starting off 2015 with a monthly Challenge?

What’s your number one New Year’s Resolution/Goal for 2015? (I’m still planning mine)

New Year’s plans? 

Notes from Jodi Higgs:

Posture….the intricacies, importance, and benefits of good posture is where we’re going this month. The truth about good posture is that it involves a lot more than just standing up straighter, pulling those shoulders back, and tilting up your chin. The muscles engaged in finding and maintaining good posture involve muscles throughout the entire body: strong flexible abdominals, back, glutes, pelvis, legs, hips, shoulders and neck. The need for a powerful core, and a lengthened and strengthened back from neck down to the butt is necessary for the body’s natural positioning to all fall into perfect place.

The importance of good posture is evident when you consider the plentiful benefits:
1) The most obvious benefit involves avoiding overall health complications! Many painful difficulties with back aches, slipped discs, back pain, sciatica, shoulder pains, pelvis and hip misalignment, pressure inside our chest, poor blood circulation, compromised digestion issues and neck pain and headache are caused by poor posture.
2) Good posture facilitates breathing; enables us to breathe properly by opening up our ribs and lungs. Healthy lungs equal a healthy body.
3) This increases our ability to concentrate and think. The more air we provide our brain, the more oxygen it gets, and the more brain food it receives.
4) Good posture improves our image. It helps us to look thinner and taller. Research has stated that people with good posture appear smarter and are more attractive than those who don’t.
5) Having good posture makes us feel better about how we look. We know that good posture increases our self-confidence.
6) And finally…most importantly, a very recent study found that good posture even increases our sex drives and improves our sex lives, which just proves how interconnected this body of ours is! When we’re feeling stronger, looking better, and exuding confidence, it makes all kind of sense that our sexuality and sex appeal would also increase. Not only that though, this same study showed that good posture even changes our hormones, specifically a decrease in cortisol and an increase in testosterone. There’s actual science behind this sex drive claim.
And, if you still need convincing……

So, really… this is the 30-Day Sexual Libido Challenge. Has a nice ring to it. Aren’t you glad you stopped by? I could have chosen a hundred exercises for us this month. Instead I chose 4. And together they form a very well-rounded and complete posture workout that should supplement nicely any other daily exercise routine you are already doing.
As always, please watch the videos I’ve linked to before getting started. Be conscious of proper form and listen closely to your bodies. Adapt and modify the Challenge as you please in order to find your own personal success.

Here we go:

Cat & Cow Sequence

This is the perfect place to start each day… warming up with a light flow movement, working to stretch and lengthen the entire spine, finding some nice rhythmic deep breathing, opening the hips, abdomen, shoulders, back and neck, and calming the mind, finding focus and emotional balance. It IS as good as it sounds. One of my absolute and ultimate favourites….one that everyone can do (even perfect for pregnancies!).
Inhale as you raise your head up into cow and exhale slowly and deeply as you fold in to cat.

Cat & Cow video:

The Pilates Roll-Up

It is said that each pilates roll-up is equal to at least 6 regular sit-ups and will not come easily or naturally to some folks who may have been relying on the larger leg muscles, instead of the entire range of abdominal muscles. This is a highly effective core exercise that involves completely rolling up and down into a sit-up, vertebrae by vertebrae. The video link below demonstrates an early modification for you if you are not ready for a full roll-up with straightened legs. Bend your knees and use your arms to help you up, while focusing on that spinal curvature and engagement of the abdominal core. You’ll get it eventually!!

Video for the Pilates Roll-Up:

The Half and Full Locust Pose

This may be a weird one for you, if you’ve never practised Bikram yoga before. There are a number of variations of Locust pose that look a lot like Supermans, with both arms and legs raised while lying on your stomach. This incredible back strengthening exercise is odd for some because it actually is a mini backbend and most folks are not accustomed to bending any which way but forward. I like this variation of locust pose because it focuses on the legs only, while still benefiting the shoulders and upper back. The benefits are numerous: aside from strengthening the muscles of the middle and lower back, and increasing flexibility through the spine, this exercise also massages the internal organs, improves digestion, firms the buttocks and hips, increases circulation, may help cure tennis elbow issues, stimulates the endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems, and improves concentration. It is especially recommended therapeutically for lower back pain, sciatica, and even slipped discs..

Check out the video if you’re not familiar with this one. Be very aware of the set up of your arms and hands. They are placed palms down with pinkies together and fingers spread out wide almost gripping the floor. It’s a rather unusual set-up if you’re new to this one. We are going to do one leg, then the other leg, then both legs together. Also note in the video that your head position changes when you do a single leg (head looking up with chin on the floor) and when you lift both legs together (face must look straight down here with nose on the floor, in order to have safe spinal alignment as the legs rise up.)

Here’s the video. Watch it for sure:

Wall Sits

Primarily, this exercise focuses big time on the quad muscles in your upper leg, but the wall sits truly do work the entire muscular system of the lower body. The quadriceps and butt work to hold the body in place, and this is necessary for overall body posture. Since this is an isometric exercise, the endurance in the lower body muscles improves the longer you hold the position. This is a safer version of squats for those with poor knees or hips, as the support of the wall helps take the pressure off those areas. Pay attention too to your upper body on the wall, making sure your shoulders are even and solid. Focus also on your lower back and slightly curve your tummy inward towards your spine, in order to decrease or eliminate any large gap that exists between your lower back and the wall. This is crucial to good posture; one where the pelvis is slightly tilted inward and the spine is lengthy and straight.
Our Challenge this month has us practising wall sits in a few different ways: sometimes higher repetitions but short 5 second holds, or fewer reps with longer holds. We also use a ALAYC approach – where you sit yourself down and hold the pose for “As Long As You Can”. (might be nice to record these times in order to see your improvement over the month).
If these don’t get your legs shaking, nothing will!!!

Here is the video demonstrating the wall sits:

Note from Piper’s Run: I’m not a fitness instructor, Doctor or certified personal trainer – just simply sharing a challenge I am doing.


Thirty Day BootCamp Monthly Challenge

Since I’m not training for a race in November or December I want to start some other workouts. Workouts that I can do at home while the girls sleep or that I could do during my lunch break. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be running but I’m ready for a little change.

Some of my November workouts will be from this challenge. I’d love to do the whole challenge but I don’t always have success with monthly challenges.

My Goal – complete one full week of this challenge.

Jodi Higgs Boot Camp Challenge:

Jodi Higgis Nov 2014 Challenge

Please note: Jodi Higgs created this workout challenge, not me. You can follow her on FACEBOOK and find more of her workouts there! She’s got some awesome monthly challenges.

What in-home workouts do you do?

Have you ever tried one of Jodi’s workouts before?

What do your November workouts look like?

Balance Monthly Challenge

Another month, another challenge I will start…cause let’s be honest…I never stick to them. Maybe one of these days I will write a blog post on how not to fall off the Monthly Challenge wagon. Oh wait……here are a few tips for ya!

How to stick to your monthly challenge!

1. Print challenge in colour – colour is so much better on your eyes.

2. Put the challenge in a place were you go every day. Beside your bed/on your pillow after you get up; near your computer; at the dinning room table; on the fridge; with your workout clothing/gear/gym.

3. Have a pen with your colour printed monthly challenge. Cross off the workouts you finish. Seeing your progress is motivating.

4. Schedule it in. We all have “apps for that” so why not just actually put it in your calendar or an app you use to track your daily life (obviously, I don’t have a suggestion for you as to which app to use or I would plug it in here).

5. Recruit a buddy to do it with you and follow-up with them. Make sure it’s someone you like talking to daily as you’ll want to be accountable to them/yourself.

This one is all about BALANCE! Jodi Higgs workouts are awesome…hard but awesome! The furthest I’ve gone on one of her monthly challenges is 15 days I think! Maybe this will help with my running 🙂

Jodi Higgs Balance Challenge

Balance Jodi Higgs

Description By Jodi Higgs:

Balance Lunge (or Bulgarian Split Squat)

The Bulgarian Split-Squat is great for the buttocks and hamstrings, quadriceps and hip-flexors for a few reasons. It stimulates muscles that often aren’t utilised for their potential to engage, and it stretches out other muscles that are often overworked or simply tight. It is a great postural exercise because it engages and exercises the glutes and hamstrings of the front leg, while stretching out the quads and hip-flexors of the rear leg. Tight hip-flexors and/or weak glutes often result in lower back pain and immobility, so unless your knees can’t take the load-bearing here, this exercise is great for strength-building, balance, and flexibility.

You can choose to use handweights to add a degree of difficulty. Also, the higher up you place your back foot, the more difficult the exercise will be. If you’re a true beginner, simply place your back foot in the split or lunge behind you on the ground, rather than elevating it. Modify as needed to suit you!!

Don’t allow your knee or your foot arch to collapse inward; consciously pull them outward to bear the weight of your body as you bend at the knee.

And watch this video first to make sure you’re doing the right thing:

Single Leg/Single Arm Plank

The plank exercise, which we’ve seen before in our Ab Challenge, helps strengthen midsection, upper-body and lower-body muscles along the front of your body. Planks also strengthen inner core muscles that support your joints. The rectus abdominis (six pack!) and transverse abdominis that form your outer and inner abdominal muscles are primary supporters during plank exercises. The abdominal obliques also stabilize the plank position isometrically. Upper-body stabilizers include the pectoral, shoulder and upper back muscles. Lower-body stabilizers include the quadriceps, sartorius and tensor fascia coming down from the pelvis. To sum it up, it’s an amazing stationary exercise that targets just about everywhere!

We’re going to turn this one unilateral too, by raising an arm and/or a leg. Start with the plank though, with all four of your limbs on the ground. If you are in the beginner stages and need to drop your knees, drop your knees. When you’re feeling confident and comfortable in this position, do a three-legged plank by raising one of your arms. Hold that. When you are ready to move on again, lift up your arm and opposite leg at the same time, balancing on one arm and one leg. The demand on all the inner workings of your core is heightened and you will have to work harder so as not to rotate inward. The plank is a stationary hold exercise, so find your breath, tighten everything up, and hold in peace as long as required for that day.

Here’s the video for this plank variation:

Single Leg Bridge

Although the bridge is an effective glute-toning exercise, it also works the rest of your core too, which includes your rectus abdominus, erector spinae, hamstrings and adductors. During a single-leg bridge variation, your hip flexors and knee extensors also work, including the iliopsoas, sartorius and quadriceps. Your hip adductors, including the pectineus, adductor longus and adductor brevis, are also particularly active during this variation.

As with all our more advanced exercises this month, there is a progression to reaching them. So, until you’re comfortable in the traditional bridge position, don’t start lifting a leg yet. When you are ready to move on, you can progress to this…. and eventually move on to the full version.

It is your choice whether you want to hold this position or pulse it, or you can switch it up as the month goes on. The number indicated on the calendar represents seconds or pulses.

Here’s the video for single leg bridge:

Pistol Squats

(not for the faint of heart!) Holy crap. Admittedly, I’ve never tried one of these until this week and I pretty much laughed it off as impossible the first time. By the third night, I did one unassisted. Then, and only then, did i decide to include it here. It’s totally possible. Just impossibly challenging. and perfect for us!

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to assist ourselves in getting better at this exercise, that include a strap, a pole, chairs, or even an open door.

This squat is one of the top underrated exercises in existence. The benefits of mastering the pistol squat are enormous… the pistol squat requires great balance, leg strength, flexibility and coordination. Chances are you will never see anyone get this movement on their first attempt due to the difficulty of the exercise. If you work diligently on pistols, you can build up to performing them while holding a heavy weight in your hand. To start with though, you’ll be holding straps wrapped around a post or chairs to help your balance. Pistols strengthen the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and hips, but one of the most valuable benefits they provide is injury prevention. They significantly strengthen the knee structure over time. They can also even out strength imbalances because you perform them on just one leg. Single leg squats greatly reduce the stress placed on the lower back and spine making it a more ‘back friendly’ exercise option for those with back problems. No other body weight exercise builds lower body strength like pistols.

So, follow these progressions and don’t be discouraged:

Along with balance, one of our themes this month is definitely about progress and challenge, about acceptance of where we’re at, and about the lengths we go to make positive strides.

 Balance Challenge and Description By Jodi Higgs – You can follow her on Facebook here.


Please note: I did not create this challenge. I am not a personal trainer, doctor or medical professional. I’m sharing workouts on my blog to challenge myself (ha ha) and to share with others. Thanks.

Monthly Challenge: Yeah or Nay?

Are you good at balancing?


Move It Challenge

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a challenge on the blog…not my challenges but other challenges that I’ve done, attempted, failed, crushed, surprised myself, hated and loved.

So…here’s the “Move It Challenge” By Jodi Higgs: Facebook Source.


Are you doing a challenge this month? Which one?

Favourite way to move?